“Islam not responsible for ‘honour killings’ and female genital mutilation, experts say,” by Peter Theodosiou, SBS, August 28, 2016:
Cultural expert Professor Sahar Amer believes Islam is being “wrongfully accused” of inciting people to commit acts such as ‘honour killings’ and female genital mutilation.
The University of Sydney academic said such assertions were the cause of a rise in anti-Islam sentiment, or Islamophobia.
Her comments come following the recent spate of terrorist attacks in Europe and the Middle East, as well as calls from Senator Pauline Hanson and television personality Sonia Kruger for a ban on Muslim immigration.
“What strikes me in Australia is not the lack of information, so much as the resistance to accepting the information when it [is] circulated,” she told SBS.
“In the Qur’an it says very clearly, that if you harm on a single human being, it’s the same as if you had killed all of humanity.
The Qur’an actually says: “Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption in the land — it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one — it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. And our messengers had certainly come to them with clear proofs. Then indeed many of them, after that, throughout the land, were transgressors. (5:32).
Amer wants you to believe that this verse upholds the Western view regarding the infinite value of each life. In reality, it is not a general prohibition of killing — there are big exceptions for those who kill “for a soul or for corruption in the land.” Second, this is not a general command, but one only for the Children of Israel. Third, “many of them, after that … were transgressors” — so all it is really saying is that Allah gave a command to the Children of Israel and they transgressed against it.
Also, it is followed by 5:33, which specifies the punishment for the corruption and transgressions of the Children of Israel: “Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment.”
Thus this passage is explaining what must be done with Jews who reject Muhammad, not dictating lofty moral principles. Ibn Warraq sums it up: “The supposedly noble sentiments are in fact a warning to Jews. ‘Behave, or else’ is the message. Far from abjuring violence, these verses aggressively point out that anyone opposing the Prophet will be killed, crucified, mutilated, and banished!”
“The terrorists are clearly not listening to the Qur’an’s message, which is to be very peaceful. Islam believes that you should never be forced to do anything they cannot understand rationally.”
“O you who have believed, do not ask about things which, if they are shown to you, will distress you….
A people asked such before you; then they became thereby disbelievers.” (Qur’an 5:101-102)
Professor Amer said the root of Islamophobia stemmed from ‘misinformed’ politicians such as Hanson, labeling her call to ban Muslim immigration as “absolute horror”.
“To me it reveals that the people who are in charge of making laws and educating the public, are themselves completely misled and misinformed. They are exploiting that misinformation to spread more fear,” Professor Amer said.
“It’s unethical and needs to change. Politicians need to be called upon and held responsible for all the fear mongering they are propagating.”
Responsible in what way? Amer is apparently calling for criminalization of criticism of Islam.
‘Honour killings’ and female genital mutilation
Professor Karl Roberts, expert in policing and criminal justice at Western Sydney University, said assertions that Islam was directly related to ‘honour killings’ were false.
He said the practice, which he explained as murder motivated by somebody trying to defend the honour of their family or community, had its foundations in customs within rural communities in certain parts of the world – not in Islam.
Muslims commit 91 percent of honor killings worldwide. A manual of Islamic law certified as a reliable guide to Sunni orthodoxy by Al-Azhar University, the most respected authority in Sunni Islam, says that “retaliation is obligatory against anyone who kills a human being purely intentionally and without right.” However, “not subject to retaliation” is “a father or mother (or their fathers or mothers) for killing their offspring, or offspring’s offspring.” (‘Umdat al-Salik o1.1-2). In other words, someone who kills his child incurs no legal penalty under Islamic law. In this case the victim was the murderer’s daughter, a victim to the culture of violence and intimidation that such laws help create.
The Palestinian Authority gives pardons or suspended sentences for honor murders. Iraqi women have asked for tougher sentences for Islamic honor murderers, who get off lightly now. Syria in 2009 scrapped a law limiting the length of sentences for honor killings, but “the new law says a man can still benefit from extenuating circumstances in crimes of passion or honour ‘provided he serves a prison term of no less than two years in the case of killing.’” And in 2003 the Jordanian Parliament voted down on Islamic grounds a provision designed to stiffen penalties for honor killings. Al-Jazeera reported that “Islamists and conservatives said the laws violated religious traditions and would destroy families and values.”
A recent case occurred in Pakistan where a social media star was allegedly murdered by her brother, who claimed she was ‘bringing dishonour’ to the family with her pro-women posts.
“It seems very much related to cultural belief systems rather than religion,” he said.
“There is no part of the Quran that talks about ‘honour’ as being a fundamental thing.
“Where ‘honour killings’ are most common are places like Pakistan, areas of India and Arabian areas, where Islam is dominant religion.
“‘Honour’ evolves in very rural areas, where there are no police forces or rule of law. The thing that makes communities function and ensures that people behave in appropriate ways is the value of ‘honour’.”
Senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, Heather Barr, said the same ‘anti-Islam’ stigma existed for the practice of female genital mutilation, where parts of a woman’s external genitalia are removed.
UNICEF estimates that more than 200 million girls and women in 30 countries have been subjected to this practice, of which more than half live in just three countries – Indonesia, Ethiopia and Egypt- while roughly 44 million are girls below the age of 15.
The World Health Organisation has classified the practice into four categories, which are distinguished based on the location and extent of the cutting.
Ms Barr said the practice was associated with efforts to control a female’s sexuality and chastity, and based on the idea that it would discourage sex outside of marriage.
“The desire to prevent girls and women from engaging in ‘illicit’ sexual behaviour is linked to cultural ideas about family honor and the fear of a family being ‘shamed’ by the sexual or romantic behaviour of a girl or woman within the family,” she told SBS.
“In some societies, FGM is so widespread that it may be difficult for a girl who has not undergone FGM to marry, another factor which creates pressure on families to continue the practice.”
Ms Barr said FGM occurs within communities of differing religions, and not exclusive to any religious teachings.
“Many people who favour FGM claim that it is required by religion, but this is a weak argument,” she said.
“FGM is not consistently practiced across any religious group, and often you see that FGM is practiced in only one certain communities within a country. A number of Islamic scholars have called for an end to FGM, saying that it is not only not required by Islam, but in fact is in conflict with Islam.”…
FGM is widely reputed to be a “cultural” practice, but actually it is sanctioned by Islamic law: “Circumcision is obligatory (for every male and female) (by cutting off the piece of skin on the glans of the penis of the male, but circumcision of the female is by cutting out the bazr ‘clitoris’ [this is called khufaadh ‘female circumcision’]).” — ‘Umdat al-Salik e4.3, translated by Mark Durie, The Third Choice, p. 64